PRESENTED BY: dsm Magazine • Des Moines Business Record • Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau
SPONSORED BY: The District Prairie Trail • Iowa Beef • Buffalo Trace Distillery • Society Insurance
Writer: Karla Walsh
Photographer: Duane Tinkey
It’s back—bigger, better and, dare we say, tastier than ever! That’s dsm’s Restaurant Week, Aug. 16-25.
Bigger? 44 participating restaurants, the most ever.
Better? Restaurant Week opens this year with a new fun kickoff event Aug. 15 from
5 to 7 p.m. with food and music in Ankeny’s District Town Square at Prairie Trail on Southwest Main Street.
Tastier? Our photo sessions confirmed what we suspected based on our sneak peek at the menus—a week of exceptionally flavorful meal choices.
And of course we’re keeping the best aspects of past Restaurant Weeks:
• 10 days of specialty meals and special deals.
• $28 for two lunches.
• $28 for a three-course dinner.
• A $600 prize-package drawing (see details, page 23).
Many restaurants will offer both lunch and dinner; some are just offering lunch or dinner, but all are excited to host you and share their latest and greatest.
Craving more details? Visit dsmRestaurantWeek.com and follow the fun on facebook.com/dsmrestaurantweek and on Instagram (#dsmrw2019). We also have a handy app (search “dsm restaurant week”) and are tweeting while we eat at (@DMRestaurantWk). Participating restaurants are profiled on the following pages; they’re also listed on the website, where the complete Restaurant Week menus will be added early in August.
Restaurant Week Participants
524 E. Sixth St.; 515-244-0261
Chef Mason Altheide and his kitchen team have mastered the Alba classics, including heavenly light gnocchi and perfectly flowing chocolate lava cake. (Both are adored by fans so much, owner Jason Simon claims they can’t leave the menu.) Still, the crew at this East Village bistro finds savvy ways to mix things up, such as their recently added homemade bread program, a rotating crop of cast-iron creations, and a constantly expanding wine list designed by general manager Garrett Dotsch. Look for the fan favorites, plus new twists on salmon, beef and pasta. No matter what you order, settle in for comforting flavors and locally sourced ingredients.
1312 Locust St.; 515-283-1312
With a dining room that overlooks the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, this two-story restaurant occupies a former car dealership on Locust Street. While it may be known most for its all-you-can-eat brunch, Americana offers much more than mimosas and omelets. The lunch and dinner menus include a selection of comfort foods with a twist, featuring options on the lighter (avocado wedge salad, Asian chicken lettuce wraps) and indulgent (lobster mac and cheese, bacon-wrapped meatloaf) ends of the spectrum. Watch for a similar theme on their Restaurant Week menu, and pair your order with a classic cocktail.
644 18th St.; 515-244-1353
Aposto, an Italian term, roughly translates to “everything is right.” That’s what you can expect if you’re seeking a romantic, Mediterranean meal. Located in a classy yet cozy 1880s Sherman Hill Victorian mansion, Aposto focuses on Italian pastas, braises and snacks, although French, Latin, and other flavors every so often sneak into chef Shawn Bennigsdorf’s thoughtful recipes too. Visit Aposto’s website to reserve a table for dinner; they’re open Wednesdays through Saturdays. Feel like fresh air? Ask for a table on the wrap-around patio that’s lined with petunias that originated in the garden of owner Tony Lemmo’s mom, Lou Ann. (Also, don’t miss her recipe for mascarpone-frosted walnut Italian Wedding Cake on the dessert menu. It has a cult following for good reason.)
BAH Brazilian Steakhouse
2301 Ingersoll Ave., No. 500; 515-705-0085
One of two new Brazilian steakhouses on the Des Moines dining scene this year, BAH has joined Ingersoll’s growing restaurant row. Its all-you-can-eat format flaunts an array of churrasco meats cooked over an open-fire grill and delivered to your table until you say “uncle!” Beef, pork, lamb, chicken and sausage are parts of their signature dinner. Feeling a bit less ravenous? You can opt for seafood or the salad bar only, or peruse the tapas menu for small plates to share, such as salads, empanadas and polenta fries. You can also stop by for a dessert like Brigadeiro (Brazilian chocolate fudge, which will appear on their Restaurant Week menu).
650 S. Prairie View Drive,
West Des Moines; 515-267-0064
Based in Florida with more than 200 locations nationwide, Bonefish Grill reels in diners with a promise of market-fresh seafood cooked over a wood-burning fire. Everything from their brunches to their bar menu complements the ocean vibe (see: ahi tuna steak and eggs and Coral Reef Punch). Dinner menu mainstays include scallops, shrimp and sea bass, which can be dressed up with a choice of sauces, such as lime tomato garlic, mango salsa or lemon butter.
200 10th St.; 515-257-4744
The polished Southern parlor-inspired lounge at owner Chris Diebel’s downtown locale is so beautiful, you might want to cozy up on one of the couches all night. But make your way to a table in the dining room and you’ll be rewarded with seafood-loaded crab cakes, crunchy chicken-fried steak, or a saucy Kentucky Hot Brown open-faced sandwich. Oh, yes, and buttery Bourbon Bananas Foster, a variety of classic Southern pies, and maybe even a homemade ice cream sandwich. If you’re in the mood to imbibe, check out the drink menu for one of the largest selections of brown liquors in town.
1003 Locust St.; 515-248-1780
For almost 20 years, chef-restaurateur George Formaro and his team have been delivering consistently craveable takes on Italian-American food (massive meatballs, crispy portobello fries, wood-fired pizzas and more). Feeling fancy? Take a look at the entrees spotlighting Angus steak and seared scallops. You’ll be glad dessert is included in the Restaurant Week dinner lineup, as Centro excels in that category, too. Be sure to book a return visit to sample Formaro’s gelato, chocolate and toasted marshmallow sundae if you don’t do so during Restaurant Week.
223 E. Walnut St.; 515-770-9795
Can’t take a summer vacation this year? Travel to the East Village and you’ll feel practically transported to Havana at this corner cafe. Open since 2015, Ceviche is often piping out music and shaking up mojitos that will help complete the scene. In addition to the aforementioned drinks, you can sample ceviche (naturally), pressed Cuban sandwiches, and several slow-cooked meats paired with rice and beans.
Des Moines Marriott Downtown Mash & Marrow
700 Grand Ave.; 515-245-5691
Handy for business travelers and Des Moines Civic Center patrons alike, this hotel restaurant-lounge focuses on giving guests a bit of local flavor. Graziano Sliders are garnished with Confluence beer-braised peppers and onions, the Midwest Flatbread is sprinkled with Berkwood Farms bacon, and the M + M Burger comes with beer-battered onion rings made with Exile Brewing Co.’s Ruthie lager. The dessert menu follows suit with a Cedar Ridge Bourbon Milkshake.
District 36 Wine Bar & Grill
1375 S.W. Vintage Parkway, Ankeny
Now part of Dave and Jean Thompson’s three-location Urban Restaurant Group (see Urban Grill and Urban Cellar for more about the other two), this Ankeny grill creates American fare with an upgrade. A basic BLT gets better with grilled salmon, while beef tenderloin is stuffed with sausage and caramelized onions, then wrapped in bacon. Enjoy it all in the spacious dining room or bar area, or take it outside on the patio when the conditions are right.
1420 Locust St.; 515-288-0268
Back after a hiatus during its move from Hotel Fort Des Moines to its current sculpture park-adjacent spot, George Formaro brought over former Centro chef Derek Eidson to lead the kitchen at Django 2.0. In addition to a new space and new chef, the menu has new daily specials, bonus vegan options, Moules Frites (mussels and fries—splurge on the duck fat-fried version), and extra creative cocktail options by mixologist C.J. Ryherd. Don’t worry: The Croque Madame and cheese and charcuterie platters remain.
2932 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-282-8085
What started as a popular happy hour spot on Ingersoll—yes, they still sell pizza, wine and beer for half-price from 3 to 6 p.m. daily—Eatery A continues to evolve and expand. In early 2019, owner Jason Simon and executive chef Keith Johnson (who stepped up from sous after Nic Gonwa departed to open Motley School Tavern with Simon) added lunches, which join weekend brunch and the daily dinner menu as part of its wide-ranging Mediterranean offerings. This is a stellar option if you’re dining with a large family or group with specific preferences: Wood-fired pizzas please picky eaters, and the eclectic small plates take spice inspiration from Spain, Morocco, Egypt and Italy to satisfy the more adventurous diners.
Mediterranean Feast for Two
Essentially everything that leaves the kitchen, from the paella (call ahead to order) to the Restaurant Week-featured Mediterranean Feast for Two, is as much of a treat for the eyes as it is for the stomach. The Mediterranean dish comes with 24-hour marinated grilled chicken and lamb, Greek salad, hummus, falafel, roasted veggies, bread and pita (whew!), but co-owner Lisa Morales touts its customizability. She’s happy to swap in any of her five homemade salads—“no bottled dressings or sauces here,” she vows—or substitute the proteins for salmon, steak or cordon bleu. Everything just so happens to be healthy, too, so you can eat it all and still feel ready to reach for the gold medal—or at least go for a post-dinner stroll around the neighborhood.
1450 S.W. Vintage Parkway, Ankeny; 515-443-7272
You’ll feel the warm, familial vibes the moment you step into this husband-and-wife-helmed eatery in Ankeny’s booming District at Prairie Trail. Besides a friendly welcome, paella, pitas and piled-high platters of homemade Mediterranean goodies await. The menu also includes gyros, falafel, paninis and salads, and is designed and often whipped up by Lisa Morales, who co-owns the bistro with her husband, Hector. Enjoy a drink from the juice or wine list, or bring over a bottle from WineStyles next door (the corkage fee is just $10). Flavory’s Restaurant Week menu will wrap up with your choice of Lisa’s flavory baklava or her gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. See page 12 in this section for one of the dishes the Moraleses plan to plate for Restaurant Week.
2724 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-244-1314
Harbinger (noun): A forerunner of something; a person or thing that announces the approach of another. James Beard Award-nominated chef Joe Tripp has been a harbinger himself of the ever-diversifying and innovative food scene in Iowa. The menu at his Ingersoll hot spot fuses local, seasonal components with Southeast Asian flair inspired by his travels to the area. Get a taste of what’s to come on his four-course Restaurant Week menu, or any Tuesday through Saturday for dinner or Sunday for recently introduced brunch.
Harvey’s at Hotel Pattee
1112 Willis Ave., Suite A, Perry; 515-465-3511
Since its move from Redfield to the historic Perry hotel, Harvey’s has been drawing in record numbers of customers. The appeal might be the rooms designed to resemble train cars, but we’re betting it’s the comforting cuisine designed by culinary director Katie Harvey. From breakfast (eggs Benedict, egg burritos) to dinner (pot pie, bacon-wrapped pork), the entire experience will transport you to another time. The desserts, including cookies and milk, will take you right back to grandma’s kitchen.
Heavenly Asian Cuisine
225 Fifth St., West Des Moines; 515-274-9156
Sichuan and Gansu creations are the specialties of the house that will have your taste buds buzzing at this Valley Junction restaurant. A massive mural paying homage to China’s Silk Road trading route welcomes you in. The, well, heavenly aroma of Shanghai Steam Buns (soup dumplings—this is one of the few locations you can find them locally), Tea-Smoked Half Duck, and Stir-Fried Lamb with Cumin sneaking out of the kitchen will inspire you to take a seat. If mild’s more your style, the large menu also features the likes of orange chicken and Mongolian beef.
303 E. Fifth St.; 515-244-1213
Farm-to-table can be found in fine form at Suman and Cynthia Hoque’s airy and bright East Village restaurant. The frequently shifting menu showcases the farms and growers whose organic or chemical-free produce appears on your plate. Free-range chicken, grass-fed beef and bison, and other carefully sourced proteins, plus seafood and vegetarian options, can often be found on the entree menu. Recent offerings have been heavy on comfort food vibes, but light on additives (for example, crab cakes with potato tots and homemade ketchup or airline chicken breast with barley risotto).
Hy-Vee Market Grille
555 S. 51st St., West Des Moines; 515-225-1001
1005 E. Hickman Road, Waukee; 515-216-2772
8701 Douglas Ave., Urbandale; 515-251-5286
2510 S.W. State St., Ankeny; 515-963-3140
Hy-Vee is out to convince you that it’s not just where you stock up on groceries and spy helpful smiles. Four of their local Market Grilles have signed on for Restaurant Week. If their immense menu is any signal of things to come, you can anticipate enough variety to please the whole family, including pastas, steaks, flatbreads, burgers, Asian-inspired entrees and salads.
900 Mulberry St.; 515-244-5000
Salsa on over to the Des Moines Social Club and grab a table at Malo, another venue under the George Formaro/Orchestrate Management umbrella. The colorful Mexican cantina is best enjoyed with a basket of chips and dip, a Latin American-influenced cocktail like a mojito or a margarita, and a big platter of tacos, fajitas or nachos. If you happen to have room after the ample portions of all of the above, finish with churritos, cinnamon-sugar dusted delights served with Mexican chocolate and dulce de leche sauces for dunking.
Motley School Tavern
1903 Beaver Ave.; 515-279-8075
The latest in Jason Simon’s growing group (joining Alba, Eatery A, and Harbinger), the newly opened Motley School Tavern is on a mission to become Beaverdale’s hangout for family breakfasts, game watches, date nights and beyond. Chef Nic Gonwa designed the offerings to both pay tribute to the owners of the space’s previous restaurant, Chef’s Kitchen, and to push your expectations of the food you can score at a neighborhood tavern. The Restaurant Week menu, in line with the regular menus, will showcase elevated comfort food.
Bone-In Pork Chop With Robiola Polenta, Burnt Onion Puree, and Spring Rhubarb Confiture
Park Street Kitchen
For Restaurant Week, Chef Nick Marino is mingling his Italian roots with more recent hits in an Italy-meets-Iowa entree that’s a steal: The pork and polenta dish, which comes topped with preserved rhubarb, is normally $28 on the Park Street Kitchen dinner menu. It’s worth every penny. But for that price during Restaurant Week, you can sample this meal, plus an appetizer and dessert. The pork is cooked sous vide (translation: low and slow in a temperature-controlled water bath), then pan-seared in butter and basted with garlic and thyme. “The burnt onion puree adds a mild bitter note, while the confiture adds a touch of sweetness and the robiola lends a creamy, mildly tart flavor,” Marino says. “Dragging the pork through all of these components creates a very special bite.”
Park Street Kitchen
435 Park St.; 515-645-4065
Chef Nick Marino comes by his Italian cooking skills honestly. Growing up in New Jersey with a big Italian family, Marino was no stranger to hourslong Sunday suppers that included homemade pastas and slow-simmered meatballs. From there, he honed his craft at award-winning restaurants in Chicago and now brings his Mediterranean meals to Park Street Kitchen, the restaurant at the downtown Hilton near the Iowa Events Center. Neapolitan pizzas, Iowa pork entrees and fresh-made pastas attract visitors and locals. Whet your appetite with a look at one of Marino’s Restaurant Week dishes on page 10 of this section.
1301 Locust St.; 515-244-0655
At this Western Gateway restaurant Time magazine claims is Iowa’s best, chef-owner Sean Wilson is going back to his Southern roots with concepts such as a salad with hush puppy croutons and ham and clam fritters. On his Restaurant Week lineup, you might also find hints of the time he spent serving with the Coast Guard in Italy, Greece and Spain, and his later adventures cooking in Spain and Morocco. Whatever is in store, it will be boldly spiced—and nicely complemented by a wine recommended by bar manager Jared Giunta.
Range Grill & Golf
11865 Hickman Road, Urbandale
Tee up a new dinner experience at this sports bar that feels like a modern country club. Beyond the golf simulators, you’ll score par-beating grill favorites. Some have an eye toward nutrition (elk tenderloin medallions, mountainous salads and bison steaks), while others are right on path for what you’d crave at a bar—but with a slightly upscale twist (Iowa beef filet de Burgo, a chicken-bacon sandwich with garlic aioli).
2712 Beaver Ave.; 515-777-3625
The quirky ambiance matches how playful chef Zach Gutweiler’s cuisine can be, but the similarities stop there. You might expect burgers and fries when you see the eclectic mix of art and the retro tables, but this Beaverdale restaurant offers some of the most inventive recipes in the area. The menu, which changes often, is loaded with locally sourced ingredients. Fans rave about the smoked chicken (served in a Mason jar so you get a nice fireside smell as you open and enjoy) and a larb-inspired Bison Maid Right with curly beet fries.
Adobo Chicken Street Tacos
Republic on Grand
Small plates are the name of the culinary game for chef Pete Kiger and his team at the Republic on Grand since you can order them ad hoc as your hunger hits—or as that second beverage kicks in. Kiger’s Restaurant Week menu features many of the Republic’s regular fan favorites, including Goat Cheese Terrine, his play on a charcuterie plate, and the just-right-sized Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Cremeux that’s the definition of decadence. On the savory side, he suggests you try the street tacos. Sure, they sound pretty tame, but these corn tortilla-based creations are more complex than you might expect. First, they’re stuffed with chicken thighs that have been marinated in a combo of lager beer, smoked paprika, lemon, black pepper and olive oil, then slow-cooked. In addition to salsa, these dressed-up tacos come with homemade adobo sauce. “We blister dried Ancho chiles, soak them to rehydrate, rinse and combine them with vinegars, fresh garlic, oregano, black pepper, cumin and ground cloves,” Kiger says. “We stir in sugar and molasses before pureeing it into a sauce with a few other spices to balance the flavor.”
Republic on Grand
401 E. Grand Ave.; 515-518-6070
Known for its stylish lounge spirit, its
Des Moines-themed drinks and its small plates menu, this top-floor restaurant in the East Village AC Hotel welcomes a wide swath of guests, from locals celebrating birthdays to travelers popping up for a cocktail after work and before settling in for the night. Open for brunch on weekends and from lunch until bedtime on weekdays, salads, snacks and sweets (Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Cremeux!) reign supreme at the Republic. For a peek at dishes executive chef Pete Kiger will be serving during Restaurant Week, see this section’s cover and page 6.
208 Court Ave.; 515-282-3663
This Restaurant on Court Avenue—get it?—is a dinner crawl dream with shared plates, sliders, flatbreads and cheese boards. (For those who prefer to call dibs on their own dinner, entrees are available, too.) Come Restaurant Week, make a meal from a mix of their creations by combining several for one satisfying supper. Wine, beer and cocktails are available to quench your thirst and keep you lingering after you finish your last bite of dessert.
Splash Seafood Bar & Grill
303 Locust St.; 515-244-5686
Stellar sea fare always makes a splash on the Restaurant Week menu of this downtown date night spot. Chef Dominic Iannarelli and his team are renowned for lunches and dinners made with “jet fresh” seafood in raw (live oysters), rare (seared tuna steak), and sizzling-hot (seared scallops with Sriracha butter) formats. Steaks, salads, charcuterie and pasta round out the menu if fish doesn’t really float your boat.
300 S.W. Fifth St.; 515-369-7854
All-star service, #Instagrammable brunches, and Counter Culture Coffee have become the trademarks of St. Kilda, the bright, trendy cafe helmed by husband-wife team Alex and Whitney Hall. The character of the space and the cooking combine to make you feel like you’re in a big city, but you can find it all right downtown near Principal Park.
St. Kilda has signed on to show off their seasonal toasts, bowls and sandwiches as part of the Restaurant Week lunch lineup. (See the next listing for what’s for dinner.)
St. Kilda Surf & Turf
111 E. Grand St.; 515-288-1086
Ride the wave into the booming East Village to try one of Alex and Whitney Hall’s two new-for-2019 restaurants—the other is a cafe in the Temple for Performing Arts. Alex and his team designed the menu for the appropriately named Surf & Turf based on popular fish and chips shops he frequented during visits back to his native Australia. The focus: healthy-ish, modern spins on fish and chips, souvlaki and bowls to keep you swimming from breakfast to dinner. Coffee, cocktails and Australian wines are available with all of the above.
12695 University Ave., Suite 140, Clive
A new social hour showcasing deals on bites and beverages from 4 to 6 p.m. A unique three-course chef’s menu tasting each Saturday. It’s safe to say chef Lynn Pritchard and his wife, front-of-house manager Sarah, aren’t resting at their table. Their Clive bistro continues to display fresh, local ingredients—an homage to Lynn’s childhood on an Illinois farm. Wine Spectator crowned Sarah’s wine list with an Award of Excellence for 2018, so you’ll surely find an ideal pairing on the extensive drink menu for your Restaurant Week order.
Tangerine at the Art Center
4700 Grand Ave.; 515-271-0332
You may have heard about Tangerine as a catering option. As of 2019, they’re also catering to appetites of those perusing exhibits at the Des Moines Art Center. Tangerine’s compact, curated lunch menu generally includes a soup, salad and a burger, plus a few bonus sandwiches and pastas. As of press time, they were still planning their Restaurant Week lunch menu, but chef/co-owner Susan Madorsky told us one dish will feature Iowa heirloom tomatoes, burrata, olive oil and sea salt. Save space to cap off your meal with a masterpiece from pastry chef Kelsey McCreight Williamson.
2301 Ingersoll Ave.; 515-212-4900
The name for this Ingersoll neighborhood bar and grill is a hat tip to the co-owners’ respective high schools (Chris Diebel, a Roosevelt grad, and Kolby Jones, who called Dowling home). Its family-pleasing offerings hark back to the days of school lunches—made way better by executive chef Zach Gaskel, a veteran of fellow Orchestrate restaurant Centro. Come Restaurant Week lunch, chow down on a Chicago Dog or Cuban sandwich, and at dinner, Sloppy Joe Dip and slow-cooked barbecue ribs await.
909 Robert D. Ray Drive; 515-323-6288
Matching its verdant backdrop at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Trellis Cafe under chef Lisa LaValle sprouts up a new plant-inspired, seasonal menu each month. Open for lunch only, the cafe isn’t just about leafy greens. It has entrees that will please everyone from staunch vegetarians to the heartiest meat-and-potato mavens. Enjoy either in the airy dining room or on the terrace that overlooks the outdoor gardens and the downtown skyline in the distance.
Pork Tenderloin With Duck Fat Potato au Gratin and Arugula Pesto
Chef Jacob Demars toes the line between innovation and approachability with creations like Chinese-inspired chicken nuggets, an appetizer option for Restaurant Week, and a play on pork and potatoes with duck fat-richened au gratin and a peppery arugula pesto. For this all-star entree, the pork is dry-rubbed with coriander, black pepper, smoked paprika and brown sugar, then rolled tight to hold its shape while it’s seared in a cast-iron pan and finished in the oven. The side might just get center-stage treatment here, though. The au gratin is not just a couple of layers; it’s 10 thoughtfully stacked levels of thin potato sheets with garlic, onion and Parmesan cheese in the mix. Then, instead of cream and butter, Demars substitutes duck fat so the tater tower holds its shape once cut.
12851 University Ave., Suite 400, Clive
Chef Jacob Demars made a splash (literally, many of his plates had artistic splatters and swooshes) when he landed at Marlene’s at Sevastopol Station after stints at top-notch restaurants in Denver and Chicago. After Marlene’s served its final plate in early 2018, Demars briefly relaunched his innovative Open Circuit pop-up dinner series, then settled in as executive chef at this popular west-side restaurant. With both large and small plates, he’s revamped the menu to mix Dish standards like Boursin mushrooms with his modern dishes including roasted cauliflower with toasted sesame vinaigrette, crushed pistachios and charred cipollini onion. To see what he’s cooking up for Restaurant Week, turn to pages 8 and 14 of this section.
Trostel’s Greenbriar Restaurant & Bar
5810 Merle Hay Road, Johnston
Since 1987, family-run Greenbriar has been hosting couples for special occasions and families for casual feasts. You can splurge on the Gunpowder-Crusted Ribeye or keep it more relaxed with a chicken taco pizza. Chef Troy Trostel is always developing new seasonal specials (a recent roster contained Sriracha-spiced rotisserie chicken on citrus pho and oven-roasted lamb chops over spring pea risotto), and the Restaurant Week menu is sure to follow suit.
101 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 12520 West Des Moines
Iowa, the 29th state in the union, works its way into nearly every item on the menu at this newly opened Jordan Creek Town Center tavern. Culinary director Bradley Gilmore and executive chef Adam Pepe joined forces to build a menu strong on Iowa pork products and entrees with local ingredients or inspiration, such as the La Quercia flatbread and a beef tenderloin steak de Burgo.
640 S. 50th St., West Des Moines
At Urban Cellar, which opened this year as part of the Urban Restaurant Group, chef Aaron White and general manager/mixologist Andrew Mery have crafted lunch and dinner menus that borrow from other Urban establishments and infuse them with modern flair. See: The complex craft cocktails, the fried cauliflower appetizer, a Quinoa Power Bowl, and avocado cheesecake for dessert. The building also houses the restaurant’s Urban Market, where you can buy wine and a curated selection of cheese and gourmet goods.
3651 86th St., Urbandale
You can feel the family-owned climate at this Urbandale haunt. Cozy, separate dining spaces are decked out in mahogany touches with tavern-like lighting, and the kitchen’s creations will please those who prefer American, Asian and Italian eats. Work your way from appetizer (crab Rangoon dip) to entree (chicken-bacon carbonara) to dessert (espresso fudge cake) on the regular menu for a flavor of things to come during Restaurant Week. Urban Grill, a sister property to District 36 and Urban Cellar, welcomes neighbors for lunch and dinner Mondays through Saturdays.
Peach Panzanella With Blueberry-Prosecco Vinaigrette
Vino 209 Wine Cafe
Situated along the main street of the Valley Junction Farmers Market, this bistro and wine bar recently opened a new patio out back. And when it’s nice out, the owners can pull up the garage door-style window near the entrance to bring a bonus breath of fresh air into the historic space. So it only stands to reason that chef Andrew Phelps is all about seasonal ingredients for his Restaurant Week menu. Fresh melon, mint and Iowa corn are featured in an appetizer and an entree. A standout for all things summer is the panzanella, a play on a classic bread salad from Italy with juicy peaches and more traditional tomatoes. It also includes what Phelps calls “the Ferrari of mozzarella cheese,” fresh burrata. The final flourish is an ultra-appropriate vinaigrette for Vino 209, as it starts with a splash of Italian sparkling wine that’s then mixed with simmered blueberries, balsamic, fresh herbs and olive oil.
Vino 209 Wine Café
209 Fifth St., West Des Moines
Since the summer of 2017, Vino 209 owners Kelly and Denny Sharp have been welcoming Valley Junction shoppers, private event guests and others to their brick-walled wine bar. Last year, chef Andrew Phelps joined the team and revamped the menu to showcase more European-inspired small plates and entrees. His multicourse dinners and updated menu reflect his classical training and experience at top-notch Denver eateries. He’ll show off even more of his creative, seasonal plates during Restaurant Week 2019, as Vino 209 has signed on to offer lunch and dinner deals. Flip to page 4 and see right for two of the offerings, both primed for pairing with a glass of wine, of course.
7105 Mills Civic Parkway, No. 160
West Des Moines; 515-225-4885
“Blockheads,” the most dedicated fans of New Kids on the Block, aren’t the only ones who think Wahlburgers, a fast-casual chain owned by Donnie, Paul, and Mark Wahlberg, has the right stuff. Vegans swing by the Jordan Creek-area restaurant for the Impossible Burger, and kids appreciate the grilled cheese sandwich made with “government cheese,” which is a nod to the Wahlberg brothers’ humble beginnings in Dorchester, Massachusetts. This is the Hy-Vee-linked restaurant’s first year participating in Des Moines Restaurant Week.
1615 SW Main St., No. 100, Ankeny
The most recent member to join the Wasabi family comes with a stellar pedigree: Owner Jay Wang hired chef Yu Satokawa from Seattle. Satokawa moved here after working in and leading the kitchen at ramen, pho, and Izakaya restaurants on the West Coast for 25 years. Izakaya, a Japanese street-style way of cooking, makes him an ideal fit for Wasabi Ankeny, as their M.O. will be “Asian-style tapas,” according to Wang. For the time being, “we will be the only Asian restaurant [serving] this style of food in the city.” After its scheduled opening in July, the Wasabi Ankeny team plans to get on a roll with an extensive lunch and dinner Restaurant Week menu, featuring yakitori, sushi rolls, sashimi, ramen, poke and more.